Low percentile speculative future of our creative future.
Past Event

What Do You Do?

Presented by Benjamin Thomson


Wed 24 May 6:30pm - 8:30pm


Free, no booking required


The Radio Room, Ground Level of Building number 9, RMIT Melbourne City campus. Use Bowen St Entrance
RMIT University Melbourne City Campus, 124 La Trobe St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia


Accessible bathroom Low sensory / relaxed Seating available Wheelchair accessible

Right now, the world of creative work is being remade. But the hands doing the remodelling still belong to billionaire captains of industry. Why are the people furthest from the grind allowed to define it? As the tools and ideas around labour become more and more democratised and decentralised, isn’t it time for the workers to imagine their own realities?

Rather than buying into their projected “utopias” — such as a nightmarish Metaverse that is basically just a boadroom in virtual reality — it’s time to join together to create something totally new. Something completely our own. Empowered by technology and design, one doesn’t need to be a techno-imperialist to build out their own vision.

What Do You Do speaks directly to workers about their needs, hopes and desires for the future of work. Asking, what might these visions contain? Could the future of creative work be socially transformative? Better catering to differently-abled bodies, bending with neuro diverse minds, welcoming the marginalised, rejecting cycles of burnout and profiteering in favour of life/work balance and a sense of connection?

These ideas will be initially explored through surveys and workshops that targeting individuals working across a wide variety creative industries. Their reflections will be collated into a series of art works that will be displayed alongside a final live panel event where we can imagine a reality that is shared, not dictated. Fantastical but not a fantasy. A future of creative work that is totally our own.


Nicola St John

Dr Nicola St John is a communication design lecturer at RMIT University, Australia. As a colonial settler to Australia with Irish and English heritage, St John’s design education and professional practice experience has been largely absent of non-European histories, knowledges, and perspectives. This has informed her practices of teaching, research, and designing, to create spaces, projects, and participatory interactions to increase diverse knowledges, representation, and histories within design pedagogies, discourses, and industries. These projects have received funding by the Australian Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, and the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools and accolades from the Good Design Awards, the Victorian Premiers’ Design Award, and the RMIT Vice Chancellors award for research impact.

Emily Wong

Emily Wong is the editor of Landscape Architecture Australia magazine. She is a teacher of the Landscape Architecture Program at RMIT University and has taught at Deakin University and the Melbourne School of Design. She has written for architecture and design publications, including Landscape Architecture Australia, Artichoke, ArchitectureAU, Houses and Assemble Papers. Her PhD research explores curatorial strategies for design in an era of ecological collapse.

Dewi Cooke

Dewi Cooke is the CEO of The Social Studio, a not-for-profit social enterprise providing education and work opportunities in fashion and the creative industries to people from refugee and new migrant backgrounds. Here, she oversees an RMIT-accredited training program, an Ethical Clothing Australia-accredited manufacturing studio and a socially-conscious retail venture as well as numerous creative and community projects.

She’s passionate about the intersection of creativity, community and opportunity, about dismantling barriers to participation for those from non-traditional education backgrounds, as well as the potential for revitalisation within the Australian textiles manufacturing industry.

Prior to joining The Social Studio she was a journalist with 15 years experience working across the arts, social affairs and podcasting, much of it spent at The Age in Melbourne. She has a master’s from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York, was a Knight-News21 fellow and has three hair-raisingly energetic children.

Georgia Nolan

Georgie Nolan is an Australian designer, researcher and educator. She holds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and BA in Media and Communications from Swinburne University, Melbourne. She is currently a PhD student at RMIT University. Her research is focused on exploring investigative and experiential futures, bringing together strategic foresight and participatory design for ethical, educational, and professional practice. Alongside her research, Nolan continues to work in graphic design and is a visiting lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art in their Innovation School.

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